Vietnamese oil painting sets US$840,000 auction record

An oil painting by 20th century painter Le Pho have been sold for HK$6.52 million (US$840,000) in Hong Kong recently, setting an auction record for a Vietnamese artist at Christie’s International.

The seller was Patrick Lorenzi, an Oslo-based Frenchman whose great grandfather purchased the painting from the artist when he was governor of Tonkin, the French colonial province in northern Vietnam, said Jean-Francois Hubert, senior consultant for Vietnamese art at Christie’s.

“This painting went from Hanoi to Paris to Oslo to Hong Kong directly from this family,” said Hubert. The 1937 oil on canvas is titled “View From the Hilltop.”

The previous Vietnamese auction record of HK$3.03 million set in May 2013 by Nguyen Phan Chanh at Christie’s Hong Kong was broken just minutes before the Pho sale when another Chanh also belonging to Lorenzi, sold for HK$3.16 million.